If happiness is a wild, exuberant ride, contentment is a peaceful, quieter stroll. Because happiness is a more profound emotion, it has a bigger physiological impact, so it's easier to detect. Contentment is more subtle, so we have to look a little harder to recognize it. It takes practice to recalibrate and find the quieter feelings of contentment in our bodies. They begin to ask a speaker, How does this point that you are making tie in with what others in the group have been saying? When the linking function becomes distributed throughout a group, invariably there is a noticeable absence of comments indicating that group members are lost, such as Where are we? Haven't we digressed? I don't know whether this fits in or not, Can someone get us out of our confusion? The linking function seems to have the effect of orienting each member in terms of the group process. We might say that it provides continuity to the discussion. An attempt has been made in the preceeding articles to isolate and define five functions which the group-centered leader brings to the group: conveying warmth and empathy; These are functions which the group-centered leader carries out more or less continuously until they are taken over by other members of the group. There are undoubtedly other facilitating functions which have not yet been observed or defined. Further experience and research is sorely needed. That was his legacy, and now it's mine. Part of my trauma was feeling helpless to protect my mom and sister. I stayed safe behind my articles, clinging to Tiggy, my stuffed tiger and confidante. The trauma made me vulnerable to reptile brain activity, too--leaving me, like him, with a short fuse. I managed to avoid following my dad in taking my anger out on others, but unfortunately, I took it out on myself instead. Rather than rages, my vulnerabilities had me using substances--like food and drugs--to stave off negative feelings.

I also learned to fear human connection and to be vigilant, suspicious, and mistrustful of bonding, always alert for signs of betrayal. These are some of the legacies of trauma. Tiggy was an important component for me surviving childhood, a point I'll return to later. Having an outlet is one of many effective ways to help manage hard times. Once you've identified your moments of contentment, it's especially important to live in them fully so that they eventually speak to you as loudly as their bigger sibling happiness does. Contentment is triggered by the thought that we have everything we need to solve problems and enjoy everyday life. To increase the frequency of contentment, you need to train yourself to focus on the strengths, tools, and assets that you do have rather than on the resources you don't. Scan for Contentment Start with your positive intention. Say to yourself, I want to feel more contentment. That means I need to focus on what I do have at my disposal to achieve my goals rather than on what I don't have. Make a list of your goals and resources. This list has two parts. For the first, list everything you hope to achieve right now, both big and small. These five functions are those which have been found effective in creating the conditions under which some groups have been helped to move more quickly in the direction of greater utilization of their capacities. Now it will be well to examine some special problems which arise in attempting to utilize a group-centered approach in real situations. SOME PROBLEMS IN APPLYING GROUP-CENTERED LEADERSHIP Leaders who attempt to make use of a group-centered approach soon discover that it is not without difficulties and problems. Attention will be given to only a few of the more important problems encountered in implementing this approach and to some of the ways different leaders have tried to handle them. Planning for the Group by the Leader

Is planning by the leader inconsistent with the group-centered approach? Can the group-centered leader make plans for his group without taking away from the members a measure of their responsibility? Our experience points to the fact that the way a group reacts to previous planning by the leader depends to a great extent upon the relationship which exists between the leader and the group. A group whose members are either hostile and resistant to the leader or still dependent upon him for direction and motivation will usually either fight against the leader's plans or accept them with submission. HISTORICAL TRAUMA So often in history we hear about a dominant culture perpetrating mass trauma in the form of colonialism, slavery, war, or genocide. What we hear less about is that the affected group, tribe, or nation passes on their physical and psychological symptoms to later generations, who inherit those pathologies. The Cherokee Indian tribe's experience provides a potent illustration. When the Europeans colonized Mexico, they brought germs that wiped out over half the Cherokee population. The Cherokees who were still alive were forced to leave their homes and to walk more than a thousand miles, to Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma. More than four thousand people died on the way and were buried in unmarked graves along the Trail of Tears. Their children were kidnapped, sent to assimilation boarding camps, and forbidden to use their own languages and names or practice their religion or culture. They were assigned Anglo-American names, pressured to alter their clothes and haircuts, and forced to abandon their way of life because it was supposedly inferior to white people's. Many were beaten and sexually abused. It may be a problem that needs solving or a project that needs to get done. Perhaps it's a career goal or even a relationship or social goal. Next, for each one of those goals, ask yourself, What do I have at my disposal that can help me achieve this goal or solve this problem? As you make your list, explore every one of your assets, and aim for as big a list as possible. What internal strengths do you have to solve this problem or achieve this goal (eg, courage, sense of humor, brains, perseverance)? What material resources do you have to get there (eg, a budget, materials, tools, time)?

What human resources do you have (eg, personnel, advisors, networks, friends, family)? Carry this list with you to read whenever you're feeling frustrated, to recalibrate toward contentment. Live the contentment fully. Contentment is elusive, so when it does come along, it's especially important to pay attention. In either case, pre-planning by the leader has the effect of reducing the possibility of spontaneous emergence of plans from the group itself. The group-centered leader sees planning for this type of group a definite deterrent to group members' learning to plan for themselves. However, when a group-centered leader has successfully lost leadership functions to the group, when he is perceived more as another group member than as a leader, his attempts to plan for the group are no different from attempts made by any other member. The group now feels secure enough to accept his suggestions, or reject them, for what the suggestions are worth. His suggestions are then not accepted because they are the leader's, nor are they strongly rejected as a reaction against the authority of the leader. We have come to understand more about the function which planning serves, both for the leader and the group. Often planning is no more than a means of control, a way of influencing the group in the direction desired by the leader. Thus, the teacher plans a lecture and to some extent thereby directs the thinking of the group; This type of planning seems entirely inconsistent with the group-centered philosophy of leadership. In another sense, we see planning as an attempt to bolster the insecurities of the leader. Not surprisingly, the Cherokees now live with high levels of fear, grief, anger, and a persistent feeling of powerlessness. With that as legacy, is there any wonder why they experience such a high incidence of substance abuse and disease? The Cherokee Nation is typical of Native American* populations in rates of diabetes running 35 to 40 percent. Trauma, not just genes, drives that painful statistic (more on this in article 4), and trauma explains why mental health challenges and substance abuse run high among Native Americans and why they are the racial or ethnic group most likely to commit suicide. Health inequities are especially severe in the Dakotas, where Native Americans' average life expectancy is twenty years less than that of white Americans. Native Americans are still subject to racism and lack of opportunity, and that trauma is passed on from one generation to the next.

This is a classic case of historical trauma, a term that links people together based on a group identity, like race. Historical trauma can be seen as a subset of intergenerational trauma, which, as we saw, is characterized by family transference of trauma through generations. The transference of trauma manifests not just in how we treat one another; A common misperception says that the genes you get from your parents came from your grandparents and nothing your parents did or do can change them. When you notice you're feeling content, pause and really take in how it feels. Do you feel a warm glow or a pleasant, gentle hum in your mind? Is your breathing even and regular? Do you feel drawn to linger where you are? Whatever you're feeling in a contented moment, experience it with all your senses and savor it. A Contentment Radar in Action Here's how meQuilibrium member Faith, forty-four, was able to boost her contentment: When I'm trying to squeeze in a trip to the supermarket between the end of the workday and picking up the kids, my brain is usually screaming with thoughts like, `I'm not going to make it in time to pick up my son, I left too late, there aren't enough parking spaces outside the store, I don't think I have enough money for these groceries. Basically, I freak out. So now I also try to scan my thoughts when I'm not rushed. Some leaders are insecure in a free situation, finding it hard to tolerate an absence of structure. They seem to need rules, regulations, plans, procedures, organization, agendas, and other similar props. Such over-planning seems to be a characteristic of the formalistic leader (7). Here, it seems, is a fruitful area for future investigation. Perhaps we can differentiate leaders on the basis of differences in tolerance for a group's initial floundering, for informality and flexibility, for functional operation. Of one thing the writer has become convinced -- namely, that if a leader feels he must provide a certain amount of structure for his own security, he should honestly inform the group about his plans.